Sales & Marketing

Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) is a multi-billion dollar public/private initiative developed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2011 that introduces Michigan companies to opportunities that help them grow and expand. 

PMBC’s mission is to help Michigan businesses grow by:

  • Connecting local, national and global purchasers to Michigan suppliers by offering customized procurement or joint venture matchmaking searches, summits and buyer tours.
  • Partnering with local and national purchasers to organize dedicated buyer-supplier matchmaking events.
  • Delivering full concierge services to businesses to help find the right connections.
  • Offering dedicated international trade services for Michigan businesses who want to start or expand export activities.

More Details on Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC)

pmbc.connect.space

See how PMBC can help you forge partnerships and grow your business by creating an account in the “PMBC Community”.  The PMBC Community is an online and mobile business-to-business platform linking Michigan companies with private sector procurement opportunities and business services available from other Michigan companies.  Michigan businesses may learn more about the platform and register at no cost. 

Here are a just few benefits to joining the PMBC Community:

  • Connect with other businesses in the Community
  • Apply to attend and participate in matchmaking procurement events
  • Add your own company’s procurement needs
  • Schedule 1:1 meetings with other companies

Instructions on Creating an Account:

  1. Go to pmbc.connect.space and click “Sign Up Now”.
     
  2. Complete the registration steps to create your personal and company profiles. Please note that if anyone from your company has created an account before you, your company may already be created. In that case you’ll simply select it from the options that show up when you begin typing your company’s name.
     
  3. Don’t forget to download the mobile PMBC app from the iOS App Store and Google Play stores by searching for “PMBC”, allowing you to access your account from your phone and interact with other businesses during events!

EasyDNNNews

Steven Strauss: Shark Tank

Question:
Lately I have been watching the TV show Shark Tank and really like it. What always amazes me is that the people whose products I don’t like often get money and those that I do like get nothing. Why is that?

Answer:
Like you, I enjoy Shark Tank as well, and for any entrepreneurs or inventors out there who are looking for investors, making Shark Tank part of your weekly viewing is highly recommended. (Actually, even if you simply own a small business and have no need for investment capital, the show is worth your while – its educational, fun, and entertaining to boot.)

For the uninitiated, people who have businesses and products in need of angel investments go into the “Shark Tank,” give their best elevator pitch, and try and get the five millionaire and billionaire investors (the “sharks”) to put their own money (and intellectual capital) into the venture. The sharks are people like my pal Barbara Corcoran (NY real estate legend) and Mark Cuban (NBA Mavericks owner.) As with any angel or VC deal, the entrepreneur has to be willing to give up a percentage of their business to the shark. How much? Well, that’s part of the fun.

People come on the show at all levels of skill, abilities, experience, and needs. One guy might be pitching an alarm clock that wakes people up with the smell of bacon, needing $10,000 while another might pitch a toy company that allows parents to rent toys for a few months, and later send them back for new ones, a la the Netflix model. That entrepreneur might need $100,000 for a 10% equity stake in the business.

So why do some of the people get the money and the opportunity to have someone like Daymond John (creator of FUBU) be their business partner while others go home empty handed? Why do some entrepreneurs get VC funding while others don’t?

Here are 5 lessons for money seeking entrepreneurs from the Shark Tank:

1. Know your numbers: I can’t tell you how many times variations on the following conversation occurs on the show:

Kevin O’Leary [shark]: “Let me get this right. You are offering 20% of your company in exchange for an investment of $50,000?

Entrepreneur: “You bet, we have a great product!”

O’Leary: “But that means that you are valuing your company at $2.5 million. You only have $120,000 in sales. Your company is not worth close to that my friend.”

Entrepreneur: “Uh, uh . . .”

Investors want to know how you are valuing your business, how much money you are going to make, how much profit you have made, and why you need their money. Potential is great and all, but numbers talk, BS walks.

2. Understand that money has no feelings: Kevin O’Leary is fond of pointing this out. This is about making a profit for the investors, nothing more, nothing less. How, exactly, will you do that? How you feel about your business is fairly irrelevant.

3. Have a real business that can be scaled: The business cannot be you doing labor, unless that labor can be duplicated en mass. If you make homemade cedar toy chests that cost $300 but take 25 hours to build, it is difficult to see how that is a business that can be ramped up to sell mass quantities. A business that makes widgets for $2 that retail for $4 is a business that is scalable.

4. Have real (not false) confidence and be emotionally intelligent: Yes, it’s all about the numbers, but then again, it’s not all about the numbers. You have to be a cheerleader for your business while being able to read the room.

Says Barbara Corcoran, “Make sure you can sell your product, because if you as the head of the company can’t sell it, who will? Also be sure you’re ready to answer the two key questions too many of the entrepreneurs who come on the show can’t: 1) What will you do with my money? and 2) How will I get my investment back?”

5. Be unique in the marketpla

Guide for using LinkedIn to promote your small business

(By Ashley Ferremi, Eiler PR in Ann Arbor. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine)

While there are numerous social media sites available online, unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn’s primary target is the professional work force. According to LinkedIn, they reached 100 million users in March 2011 and that number continues to rise. 

What Do You Need to Do as a Small Business Owner in Order to Effectively Utilize LinkedIn?

  • Create a public profile where you can add connections and describe the skills you have and what your company can offer just as if you were an individual on LinkedIn. Ask for recommendations from people or businesses that you have done business with and from past or current employees. These will be beneficial when prospective customers or employees are on your LinkedIn profile. With recommendations, they can see evidence of work you have done for others in the past or the experience of your employees. This is especially useful if they do not share any connections with our company and would not otherwise trust your company.
  • Create a company page that LinkedIn users can choose to ‘follow’ which provides prospective clients or employees with an overview of your company, including facts about its history and founding, company size, location and the industry it operates in. The more information people can learn about your company the better.
  • Add links to the company website and any social media sites that you use on the company page and public profile. LinkedIn offers integration with Twitter where you can add a button right on your LinkedIn profile for users to follow your Twitter account. This will direct traffic to all sites and increase awareness of your company.
  • Provide updates that are relevant to the industry your company is in, your company itself, and people who would be viewing your pages. Whether you are looking to hire for certain positions, you need a company to help aid you in a certain task, or you want to announce news about your company, you can release updates that will be visible to all of your connections on LinkedIn. This can also be accomplished through blogging and articles that are posted on the LinkedIn public profile.
  • Define your perception through LinkedIn by using your public profile to convey the image that you wish to create. While remaining truthful, your company’s LinkedIn ought to display your desired perception. An example of where this has worked well is for the Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business in the way that they gained awareness of their capabilities of being innovative, applied, and global. It conveys the value of who they are because of what they wanted to be.

Key Ways LinkedIn Can Help a Small Business Grow

LinkedIn can be a great tool for recruiting new employees. With 100 million users on LinkedIn and counting, this is a great database for finding new talent. It provides the opportunity for people to connect with those who do or have worked for the business. If the person shares a connection with a past or current employee, there is a link to get introduced through a connection. LinkedIn helps to highlight the employees that your small business currently employs. The company page shows people any employees that are in their network, as well as alumni from their college. This aids prospective employees in learning more about the company by means of its current employees without being costly to the company. Additionally, these people will use the LinkedIn sites in order to learn more about the company through the updates and articles it posts and recommendations they read on the page which can contribute to recruiting. 

Prospective customer

Visa, AMEX, Master Card: are you getting the best terms and service on your credit card processing? Learn more at 10 a.m. today on Business Next!

Whether you're a credit card veteran or new to credit card processing, get all the money-saving facts today at 10 a.m. when Michael Rogers talks with Charlie Creamer of Midwest Transaction Group (SBAM's Approved Partner for merchant services.) Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business Network. Listen to archived programs anytime at your convenience on your PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.

Got a questions about credit card processing? Submit it in the comments below!

SBAM members get terrific discount for March 20 "Economic Gardening" learning program in Grand Rapids

New “economic gardening” resources and programs designed to help small businesses achieve rapid growth will be showcased at an SBAM event March 20 in Grand Rapids. Click here for registration details. Tickets are $60, but the price for SBAM members is $30. Plus, SBAM members who purchase a ticket will receive a free one-year subscription to Crain’s Detroit Business (a $24.50 value. Must be a new subscriber.)

Sponsored by SBAM in partnership with Crain’s Detroit Business, the event will be held 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. March 20 at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids. A keynote address will be presented by Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation. Panelists include SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler; Bonnie Alfonso, president and Chief Embellishment Officer for Alfie Logo Gear for Work and Play in Traverse City; and Yan Ness, Chief Executive Officer for Online Tech Inc. of Ann Arbor. Alfonso and Ness will share what they learned from their participation in the Pure Michigan Business Connect Economic Gardening Pilot Program.

The Title Sponsor for the event is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Premier Sponsors are Clark Hill PLC and Consumers Energy. The Major Sponsor is Comcast Business Class. The Supporting Sponsor is hiredMYway. The Location Sponsor is the Amway Grand Plaza.

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/programwitch/

SBAM gains 32 new members

SBAM welcomed 32 new members in the past week. “Our organization continuously strives to find innovative ways to engage Michigan’s small businesses," says Rob Fowler, SBAM’s president and CEO. “This continuing membership growth is proof positive that our focus on attracting businesses through a robust digital presence is working. The new and improved website, coupled with strong social and online media campaigns, provide all small businesses with access points to our value-added membership proposition.”

The wide range of member-only benefits offered by SBAM continues to play a key role in membership growth. Last week 25 of the 32 new members specifically referenced a member benefit as the reason for joining. This trend echoes another recent announcement from SBAM: a new high of 500 actively enrolled members in its COBRA services. This milestone makes SBAM one of the three largest COBRA services providers in the state.

To learn more about what SBAM membership has to offer, please click here. The Small Business Association of Michigan's mission is to help small and medium size companies succeed by leveraging buying power, engaging in political advocacy, and promoting entrepreneurship.
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